The Trump administration announced the details of its $16 billion farmer bailout this week, including $14.5 billion in payments to farmers hurt by his trade wars, The Washington Post reported.
The $16 billion bailout follows last year’s $12 billion bailout. The new round lifted the cap on payments to farmers hurt by the trade war with China from $125,000 to $250,000.
Under the plan, individual farmers will receive between $15 and $150 per acre and will be distributed among farmers and producers of dairy and pork.
“We looked at trade over the past 10 years and determined the maximum amount of trade that a retaliating country could have had,” told Agriculture Department economist Rob Johansson said. “We do get larger amounts of damages [when we] look at the number of retaliatory tariffs and a number of non-tariff barriers that are affecting farmers.”
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue acknowledged that farmers would rather be selling their products instead of having to be bailed out.
“If you go out and survey farmers and ask them for their results, you won’t find any that feel they’ve been made whole by this program,” Perdue said.
First bailout was rife with abuse:
“The Environmental Working Group, using data received under the Freedom of Information Act, found individual farmers in five states — Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas — received more than $900,000 in 2018, largely through a loophole that allowed each member of a farm-owning family to apply for relief,” The Washington Post reported.
“Money flowed to foreign-owned businesses and to those who don’t live or work on a farm, including an architect in Manhattan, Chinese conglomerates and Brazilian beef companies. More than $38 million in aid money went to residents of cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Washington,” the report said. “It is unclear whether the changes in this round of trade relief will preclude these overly generous payouts or prevent ‘double dipping’ for farmers who receive commodity subsidies, crop insurance and disaster recovery payments.”
Democrats slam plan:
“These short-term, inequitable payouts are not a replacement for markets and a coherent trade strategy,” Michigan Rep. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said in a statement. “This aid is not equitable and favors certain farmers over others. Bottom line — it’s not fair.”